22 Sep Thousands may file adjustment of status years earlier under October 2015 Visa Bulletin
On Wednesday, September 9, 2015, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), in coordination with the Department of State (DOS), announced that it was “revising the procedures for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for employment-based or family-sponsored preference adjustment of status.”
This new procedure is part of the immigration reform initiated by the Obama administration. Effective October 1, 2015, an application for adjustment of status Form I-485 can be filed earlier, sometimes years in advance, of the actual availability of visa numbers. The most dramatic example of this, in the Visa Bulletin for October of 2015, is in the employment-based third preference category for Philippines, where the “Final Action” cut-off date is January 1, 2007, but any applicant who has a priority date earlier than January 1, 2015, may file an application! In the family based categories, the first preference F1 has a Final Action cut-off date of June 1, 2001, but the From I-485 may be filed if the applicant has a priority date earlier than September 1, 2005.
The benefits of filing earlier is the applicant can get a working authorization with the chance of travel outside the United States.
October 2015 State Department Visa Bulletin follows:
Family Based Preferences:
- Application Final Action Dates for Family-Sponsored Preference Cases – These dates are consistent with prior visa bulletin priority dates.
The Department of State will be making a final action on the following petitions with priority dates earlier than indicated below.
- First Preference – Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens June 1, 2001
- (Application filing date is for priority date earlier than Sept. 01, 2005)
- Second Preference – Spouses and Minor Children of Permanent Residents Apr 15, 2014
- (Application filing date is for priority date earlier than Mar 1, 2015)
- Unmarried Sons and Daughters 21 years and over of Lawful Permanent Residents Oct 1, 2004
- (Application date is for priority date earlier than Jan 1, 2005)
- Third Preference – Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens Oct 1, 1993
- (Application date is for priority date earlier than Aug 1, 1995)
- Fourth Preference – Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens May 1, 1992
- (Application date is for priority date earlier than Jan 1, 1993)
Employment Based Preferences:
- First Preference – Priority Workers Current
- Second Preference – Advanced Degree Professionals Current
- Third Preference – Skilled Workers & Professionals Jan 1, 2007
- (Application date is priority date earlier than Jan 1, 2010)
Unskilled – Other Workers Jan 1, 2007
(Application date is priority date earlier than Jan 1, 2010)
Please note that the same law for adjustment of status is still in place. This means that only those immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, those with current valid legal stay or those qualified under Sec. 245(i) may apply to adjust status. INA Sec. 245(i) refers to those beneficiaries of petition filed on or before April 30, 2001.
Note: This is not a legal advice.